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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  February 11, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm EST

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>> what do you think a tree can be? can it be stronger than steel? can treat a biodegradable plastic? can it be fuel for our cars? or clothing? or medicine that fights cancer? with our tree cell technology, we think it can. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> this week on "inside washington," egypt on the brink. does democracy have a chance? >> what is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold. >> house republican leaders face
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a revolt on spending cuts. new members say they aren't deep enough. >> our new majority is intent on honoring the commitment we made to the american people. >> president obama tries to patch things up with big business. >> if you are trying to decide whether to invest or spend, you don't know what is coming at you. >> two more senators decide to pack it in, webb and kyl. and a congressman resigns. the owner of the washington redskins as a s -- as he has been smeared and maligned and slander. he is suing. >> what's wrong is wrong and that is what it is all about. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> mubarak steps down and hands over power to the egyptian military. what happens next? we don't know for sure, nobody
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knows for sure. we have the scene in tahrir square after the announcement was made. people absolutely overjoyed at this news. mubarak was still in power as of early friday morning. he had moved from cairo to at shamr el-sheikh. but he finally got the message and step down. apparently what he did was axed a constitutional. he handed it over to the military. i don't know what this means. what is next to the egyptian people? who can say, charles? >> well, look, the army was always the key element in all of this. after the bizarre speech mubarak had given thursday night when he seemed to be digging in and later they explained that he gave over the power to the vice president, there was this terrible, angry reaction in the street and the swelling of the crowd after prayers on friday, marching on the palace, the army had to make a choice. they could either fire on the people and defend the king or let him go. i think what happened here is
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that the army had a quiet coup. they told mubarak, is over, we are in charge, and as a result, there will not be an election in 60 days as would have under the existing constitution. it is under the army, there is no constitution. it is as if we are in 1952 when the army deposed the king. >> except nasser is not around. >> no, no obvious strongman. >> no. the reality is that this is one time wanted the united states foreign military aid is in the best interest of at the united states. unarguable. more than 500 egyptian officers come here every year and train at the naval war college and national defense university, where they learn about the role of the military in civilian society, where relationships have been forged. bob gates to his counterpart, mike mullen to his -- they've
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been in constant communication. the military has been the most respected and the best hope for transition in egypt. we will find out if they are up to the task. >> all the weapons they are using say "made in u.s.a.," colby. >> major procurement source for the egyptian army is here in the united states. they are key to the transition. they allow for the stability for the transition team to come in. but this question is broader than egypt now. you can imagine the nervousness in riyadh, kuwait, the gulf states, in tel aviv, because of this change in egypt. we have yet to see the full dimensions of this. >> how about the nervousness in the white house, jeanne? >> certainly the white house is relieved that this has turned out peacefully -- >> so far. >> and the way they broadcast
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yesterday, seemingly in accurately, but it has now come to terms. but one thing that strikes me about this whole experience is 3 weeks or so, these people have been in the streets, and really, you had one bloody day. given the number of people down there, it is remarkable that more weren't killed. this is our first glance, i think, of the egyptian people, because really -- we don't really know them. i feel they have shown remarkable tenacity, smarts, patience -- >> and courage. >> yes. when we look ahead, we don't know what is going to happen, but what we just witnessed -- this was basically a peaceful coup that bodes well for them, i think. >> you have the army, the secret police -- >> the army did not be of the way the chinese army believe after tiananmen square.
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it is more the way the turkish army behaved. whether that holds up over the long haul -- i think the army could play a constructive role and will probably play a constructive role in egypt's future. >> it is the most respected institution in part because it overthrew the monarchy, and it has the prestige of the 1973 war when egypt regained the sinai, and it is also a conscript army. in a sense it is an army of the people. i think it was willing to give mubarak a lot of play, and it probably surprised him with that speech on thursday in which he dug in. that is when i think it felt it had to act or it would use its position. >> on thursday members of the military were trying to walk through the crowd, trying to calm them down, "don't worry
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about this, it is going to be all right." >> it reminds me of the words of the american leader, "those who make peaceful change impossible to guarantee that a violent change is inevitable." when we look at an authoritarian regime from the outside, it looks so stable. we don't know if it has a glass jaw. we have no idea, the vast majority of americans, including this one, of how vulnerable and fragile and brittle at the mubarak regime was. until the first blow is struck, we don't know. >> why don't we know, jeanne? >> nobody knew. when these things explode, there is a trigger. we know in the end autocracies are going to crumble, but it could be in three years or 50 years. >> jeanne, why didn't we know?
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>> i agree with charles. it is an insulated environment -- >> but the cia has relations with suleiman -- >> the president went and gave that speech in cairo for a reason. we know that people over there wanted reforms. the bush white house had encouraged the egyptian government to loosen up on its people. we did now that much. did we know it was going to fall now? no, of course not. the one of the things in the thursday night speech, mubarak said out two bowls but he wanted to finish out his term, and he wants to die on the egyptian soil. by resigning, he probably got the latter one. >> all i would say is that the hard part starts now. this is a country with no experience in democracy. all of the democrats and secular elements have been repressed by the existing government.
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the only organized opposition is the muslim brotherhood, and they are a scary lot. >> scary bunch, colby. >> at bottom a as trade sure, you have people saying there are moderate strands. it is what it is, an outlawed group that is seen as a terrorist group in the united states let's look at the larger picture of egypt, because this is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. they don't have political institutions, there are -- but there are indeed it wisely and educated population and their pr -- widely educated population there. this is not a third world country with nothing behind it. there are people there who will shape the direction for the country of egypt. what will happen for the region as this takes shape? egypt is really a linchpin in
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the arab world. it is hard to believe that the autocratic countries in the middle east aren't worried sick now what is going to happen to them, because this was triggered by one or two events and it got to the point where even the army could not stop this. >> could this be a magic moment for the obama administration politically? >> it depends on how it all works out. >> if it works out well, of course. >> it has a few more steps to go, including what happens in other nations and egypt. just elaborating on colby's point on the education and the long history of egypt, these folks in egypt just organized through facebook, twitter, and street talk the overthrow of a 30-year government. that is incredible. the idea that they don't have experience, but they are smart
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and obviously capable of using as many tools to organize. >> didn't he shot it down for awhile? >> and then they found a way to get around it. this group of people have demonstrated that they have quite a bit of stability. >> one factual point of the muslim brotherhood herrity 88 seats in the election until it was 0 a.mzeroed out by mubarak. as far as political payoff for presidents, camp david accord, jimmy carter loses. the berlin wall comes down and germany is united, the gulf war, george bush is defeated. hardee truman, truman doctrine, nato, since western europe -- he cannot even run for reelection.
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foreign policy disasters doom reelection, foreign policy victories are no road to re- election. >> everything about the aged population, the long history, -- educated population, the long history, all that applies to iran in 1979 as well. it got hijacked by the islamists. that is the threat in egypt today. the brotherhood wants sharia law. on its website it says that no christian or woman can be president of egypt. this is not the salvation army, as described by the director of national intelligence, in the testimony he gave the other day about how benign and secular and organization is. it wants the institution of sharia law. our job is to strengthen the democrats, of which there are many in egypt but need help the organization and assistance so they can challenge and create a democracy that will not be one-
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man, one-vote. >> we are broke. we are borrowing 41 cents for every dollar that we spend. this spending binge is hurting job creation by eroding confidence, and draining funds from private investment, spreading uncertainty among employers both big and small. >> house speaker john boehner are originally promised $100 billion in spending cuts. he was not able to get to that number. tell us more, mark. >> the problem john boehner has -- he has the toughest job in washington -- he has 90 freshmen. anyway of freshmen come with a conviction, that this was divinely providential, sent here by a power far greater than any of us are exposed to. they have a mandate from god,
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and it consists of $100 billion of cuts. the appropriations committee, wants the most respected institution on the hill, deferred to by members on both sides, comes out with $40 billion of cuts, and the freshmen say, "not on your life." now they are talking about nih cuts, women's and children's nutrition cuts, across the board, serious, serious cuts, and it comes out next week, and it will be promised by an open rule with members on both sides. it will be a legislative field day. >> absolutely. it will be at the sheer joy to watch. our democracy truly working in its own way. the republicans' first had hoped to maybe do it just 5% across- the-board. that way they don't have to go in and identify exactly every program that takes a hit. politically a little safer to do it that way. but we have seen not just with the budget, but also with the
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first few floor votes they have taken, where they lost, the republican majority lost, on extending the patriot act, trying to claw back some money, different pieces of the republican process or breaking away. john boehner has the worst job in washington, and right behind him is representative mccarthy, the republican whip who has the vote count. i think it signals that we are in for a really rocky time as we move forward with a lot of uncertainty about what will and won't come out of the house brough is this -- come out of the house. >> is this the case of be careful what you wish for, charles? >> or what you promise. >> let's remember that this is cutting the 2011 budget, and that already started in october 1, 2010. basically you have half a year
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left, and you have huge amounts of cuts that have to be done in what remains of this year. i think this could be a huge trap for republicans, because if you ask for across the board, that is ok, that is a percentage. the moment you go into programs, you are hitting every constituency, every district in the country, in some way. the democrats are sitting and watching this and they are going to feast on this. >> the road map of $100 billion has already been laid out there. it is the work of the republican study committee, with things like cutting out all aid to egypt, for example. i think the house should work its will on each amendment. i think republicans to propose these cuts should stand up there and have to defend it and see with the republican party really stands. >> the problem is, it is only 1/12 of the budget anyway. the real money, the money that
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is going to be untouched, is that entitlements, and that is where nobody will go, but unless you change that, you will not change the budget and save the economy even if you have to account and guides. >> -- even if you have draconian cuts. >> webb is leaving, kyl is leaving. what is the senate and want to look like? >> we don't know, but there are real opportunities for republicans. virginia will be a good risk for them, north dakota is definitely a good race for them. virginia was going to be a hard- fought race anyway, but it might have gotten better for them now. >> george allen wants to come back in virginia, and tim kaine, the former governor, says he does not want to run. >> i think that comes down to his relationship with the president. a word about jim webb. most politicians come to the town and tell you they would
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rather be back in centreville and the of virginia chamber of commerce, wash, and they fight tooth and nail to stay here and they only leave by a box, a ballot box or a pine box. jim webb came as a maverick and he is leaving as a maverick. he wrote the gi bill, he took the matter of incarceration, that the united states in concert more people than any place on the earth. this is not a payoff issue politically. he is that kind of a guide. he will be missed. >> let me ask about congressman chris lee who resigned this week after the website gawker published photos of himself shirtless that he said 20 woman, and he said he was divorced. but he is not divorced. this the digital age. >> i never heard of him before, and he was gone before i got to know him. i don't think he would catch any of us topless on tv.
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[laughter] he had it, he thought he could fl it -- flaunt it, i guess. >> can i endorse mark on jim webb? he is a novelist, a war hero, has a great life outside, secretary of the navy in the reagan administration, a guy with a real life, extremely creative guy. i think he decided, he came here for six years, he did what he wanted to do, and he doesn't spend 12 years in any one place. i commend him for what he has done and the way in which he has walked away. >> can i go back to lee for a second? i think there should be a role in washington that you have to stay for your first scandal headlines. you cannot with that fast. >> three hours. his congressional district
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borders that of tickle monster eric massa. there is something in the water that we have to take a look at. >> the president tries to bury the hatchet with the chamber of commerce. >> i understand the challenges you face. i understand you are under pressure to cut costs. i understand the significance of your obligations to shareholders. and the pressures that are created by quarterly reports. i get. -- i get it. >> that is president, speaking to the chamber of commerce, who spent millions attacking his policies in the last election. when he says "i get it," what does he mean? >> all the business leaders behind the scenes anonymously complaint and complain, "they don't get it" -- his answer, "yes, i do, i will change things." >> when he says "get in the
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game," what does he mean? >> the recovery cannot come fast enough for him and his reelection chances of this business gets off the sidelines and creates jobs. get in the game. >> if you are on the left of the democratic party and uc president, making nice with the chamber of commerce, how do you feel? >> well, they are not happy with it, but they understand that nothing will happen with this relationship to the chamber of commerce will stay with republican nominees, no question about it. all obama wants to do in this case is softened a bit of that hostility. >> so what is the point, mark? >> the point is, apparently, that barack obama is refashioning his image for independent voters. that seems to be what underlies this, because recall that business' demand was last
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december -- the reason we are not investing is we are uncertain about taxes. he gives them their tax bill. now it is a regulation, all of these damn regulations. next year it will be unless you get rid of the child labor laws and the minimum wage laws, we cannot do business in this environment. [laughter] you tell me what they want. >> charles, what do they want? >> how can i compete with that? [laughter] "yes, we are for repeal of the child labor laws. number one on my agenda." this is all about appearances. mark is right, it is all about independents. this is william daley, the tax- cut deal, his sort of attack on regulation, promised to reorganize the government in the state of the union. there is nothing of substance here. it is all about appearances, and
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it is empty. >> i take issue with that. a lot of it is about independent voters and reshaping the image. but the president would like to score a few more legislative the victories, a trade deal, a few other things he would like to bag before he runs for reelection bid this white house cannot get a majority vote in the house, the republican house brou -- the republican house. the chamber can get those votes. for him to have the legislative and victories, he needs the business community lobbying for him. >> the republicans are the ones who asked for approval of the panama and colombia trade deal. he did not have to go to the chamber for that. >> white skins under -- redskins owner dan snyder see is "washington city paper. "washington city paper" published "the cranky redskins'
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guide to dan snyder." he sues them, claiming that they slandered him and that the picture had anti-semitic imagery. it would be more defensible if the team or not the redskins. >> dan snyder is wrong on so many fronts. he sat out with the objective, according to his lawyers, to ruin him financially because the paper is so small. the fact of the matter is, dan snyder has ruined at the washington redskins as a football franchise. it is going to take years ago with a franchise can recover its former glory. thanks in large part to the mismanagement of dan snyder. everybody in town knows it. >> the lawyer is' messages that our pockets are deeper than yours. >> the cost of defending a lawsuit it will soon outstrip that of "city paper" itself.
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this is a pr disaster. i cannot imagine that an center makes as much money as he does and make mistakes that amateur advisers no is about the stupidest thing you can and do. this article is relatively obscure. now it is a headline on espn and nationally. craziness. wait, i've got to share this -- on a website this week, dan snyder had a 100% negative rating, and mubarak only had a 67% negative rating. that is how bad it is. >> dan snyder is a jerk. i mean, he's just an absolute jerk on every possible downgrade this piece documented his meddling in confidence as owner of the redskins. he is a billionaire trying to put out of business and a precarious publication. as far as the anti-semitic
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charge, the points in the spirit, all you have to do is go online with that in -- the horns and a beard, all you have to do is go online with that image, and up pops one person, barack obama. nobody, not even glenn beck, suggests he is jewish. >> again, how do i top this guy? i have not read the article, but everybody has a right if they have been slandered to sue. but i do agree that it is an obscure article and it has been given a lot of prominence by dan snyder's actions. >> last word. we will see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to insidewashington.tv. vo:geico, committed to providing service to
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